This is a very belated internship Touchnote review.
It has been a while since I updated my blog with, what I find, share-able posts. My life as a student can be quite hectic but now I found the time to concentrate on writing about a very fruitful period of my life; my internship with Touchnote.com.
After I left my previous internship earlier I gave myself 3 weeks to find a paid internship in London, else I’d go back to Holland to find one.
I applied to several paid internship jobs in London as web developer. A web dev agency was interested and Touchnote, which I found on GiveMeaStudent (disappeared all of a sudden). It took me a few days to decide with which company I’d like to work with. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end I chose Touchnote for it was closer to home (still quite far though), I enjoyed my communications with them, having a smaller team I expected a more personal approach. Touchnote was interested in meeting me so I arranged an interview asap.
My first English job interview
Obviously I had a horrible Dutch accent but my interview with Touchnote was very pleasant. I spoke with the CEO and the lead developer. The chat with the lead developer was interestingly perfect! The type of questions asked by him gave me an idea of their way of working, professionalism and their knowledge regarding web development. What they could offer me was exactly what I was looking for! Now I just hoped that I could offer them what they were looking for. I was quite insecure to be honest. I had no portfolio to show that I am well or reasonable capable of using PHP, MySQL, CSS and HTML. I could only explain what I knew and did, what my experiences with PHP were sand what I wanted to learn.
After a week I heard the good news! I could stay in London!! Yeh.. now I couldn’t wait to get started.
The dev team and me
Feeling a bit insecure I hoped to be able to live up to their expectations. They sure lived up to mine. I got all the support I needed; during work and for school. I made some errors and felt very ashamed and I also made successes. The dev team was always open to my questions as well as to my suggestions. They were very clear in their expectations and in explaining different things. I could ask the same technical question like 3 times and still they wouldn’t be fed up with me
Due to my previous internship experience I actually expected not to be taken seriously because I was just an intern. To my surprise; my suggestions, ideas and opinions were taken seriously and I was more than just an intern.
I worked with new tools to help with the development of the website. I learned new coding tricks and more about Cake, JQuery and 3rd party API’s. I had the chance to apply my own SEO skills and on top of that I learned new, never heard of before, SEO strategies.
I tasted a bit of how the lead developer plans projects in an Agile, SCRUM, way; how to realistically estimate the time of each project. From start to finish I experienced how a lead developer manages it’s team and how he can get desired results from its team when time is limited. How to look at problems and how to try to tackle them. This is definitely something I’ll always take with me if I ever get a leading or managing role of any kind in my life. His managing capacities to me are a very important lessons, so is everyone else’s role within the company.
I’ll remember the deployment evenings/nights. The days working towards them were hard work but the deployments were always good fun and usually came with pizza or snacks as well
The rest of the Touchnote team
I am surprised how everyone in the company communicates very well and clearly. I think I always knew what everyone was up to, everyone was always well informed, we knew how the paths forward looked like, what the next steps were, what expectations are and no surprises other than good surprises. It is very fascinating and again very important entrepreneurial lessons for me. Examples of good behaviour is very important for my learning progression
Never was I asked/demanded to get coffee for the team never did I felt being treated as “the intern” or “the student”. Such a delight!
I was offered to stay after my internship but decided to go back home and continue school. It wasn’t an easy decision but school is something that has priority now. I just want to get over with it first.
I honestly could not have hoped for a better internship. I learned a lot; gained real practical experience with a professional company. It was fun and gave me more confidence in my role as web developer. Every person in the whole Touchnote team is very devoted to the company, hard working, professional, reasonable, fun, well mannered, respectful and friendly. What more does one need?
I sincerely hope that any future web dev intern will have similar positive experiences.
Thank you Touchnote Team!!
Side note to all students looking for internship in London
Key is to search well and thoroughly, apply to different internship jobs… It is possible to find decent, good and even paid internships if you are determined and know what you are looking for..don’t compromise in that! If I am able to accomplish what I was looking for then you sure can too.
My personal points of improvement
After this experience I thought of new challenges that I’d like to pursue.
Believe it or not. I quite like to be a (junior) project manager at least once in my life. For that I seriously need to work on my English communication skills; explaining technical situations to web novices at any time. Be able to clearly explain situations: what do I expect and what is happening, what do I do and what are my expectations.
I’d like to become more British in how I communicate so more British accent is coming! Bye bye Dutch accent.. Tot ziens!